En Garde! This rallying cry resonates throughout the swordplay featured in the thrilling exploits of Adalia Volador, the beloved champion of the people. With its incredibly satisfying learning curve, this title is sure to captivate players, leaving them eager to master its intricate mechanics while also underscores the enduring appeal of action games.
Adalia stands as one of the stalwart individuals fighting against the oppressive Count-Duke regime, the primary adversary within this game’s narrative. As players engage with the storyline, they will assume the role of this character, immersing themselves in the central role. While the setting remains relatively consistent throughout all the episodes, it functions as a cohesive thread, guiding players from the story’s inception to its conclusion. Throughout the unfolding action, various characters will make appearances, allowing ample time for players to establish connections with Adalia, thereby embedding them in this universe and revealing their complete potential.
At first glance, the graphics are the main point that caught my eye. The setting of each chapter introduces something new, from a dungeon, to sewers, all of them set with 3D models that appear to be painted in watercolor. In fact, there is an interesting detail of blur between the background and what is happening right next to the player’s view that makes the background look like a painting. There is also the inclusion of platforming elements, which serve as moments of pause between encounters with enemies, but without ever revealing that idea of filler content.
Adalia is not only sharp with her quick sword movements, but her lines always feature some hilarious detail, whether in the cutscenes or in the moments of combat against the guards. Even the comments from the guards themselves denote small details from Adalia’s previous fights, creating a path for all the notoriety that an anti-hero carries.
After finishing all the chapters of En Garde! (in Hard), I feel like I’m prepared to tackle a souls like or even Sifu and his extremely technical combat. In this case, although not being too technical, the combat system is fun and presents a very clear learning curve, especially during encounters against Bosses where it is possible to have the screen full of enemies. Adalia is equipped with her trusty sword, a dodge ability and special abilities that are unlocked over time, which consume the Panache bar and allow you to apply damage to a single enemy or area damage when surrounded by enemies.
All objects present at the time of combat can be used to damage enemies or hinder their movement. It is interesting to understand the different attack patterns of enemies and what you have at hand to prevent them from inflicting damage. Throwing a roasted chicken, yes a roasted chicken, or a bucket at the enemy makes them passive without being able to attack for a brief moment. Boxes, tables, chairs are all elements that can be thrown at enemies with a simple kick. Enemies have a bar below their life bar, representing different types of protection. For the yellow one, for example, it is necessary to parry or attack the enemies until it reaches 0, and then yes, you can apply damage to them. The blue one is equivalent to the need to throw objects, such as boxes, until it reaches 0, so that, as before, it is possible to apply damage. The difficulty increases when there is a need to face several enemies, all of them with different attack patterns or different damage-taking mechanics.
In addition to the story mode, there is the Arena mode. As the name suggests, the player will face waves of enemies in an arena, with small differences in combat, as there are positive and negative modifiers. Regarding the positive modifier, it is possible to choose one of 3 options at the beginning of each round. It’s an interesting addition to extend the playing time of this title, as I didn’t feel like repeating, at least for now, the chapters of the story mode.
En Garde! It is an adventure that will generally take around 5 hours to complete. It will, of course, depend on each player’s finger dexterity. Adalia is a fun main character, who will try to mark her space in the player’s memory. The combat mechanics and confrontations against the different enemies keep the player attentive to all the details surrounding him, with the aim of surpassing himself with each movement. Recommended in its entirety for all players, even the most casual ones.
[This review is based on a retail build of the game for Steam acquired by me]